Archive for October, 2013

The Gagging Bill: time to think again

The Government was given a hard time in yesterday’s House of Lords debate on the Lobbying Bill.  And rightly so.  The Bill is a stinker.  Its declared aim is to keep big money out of politics, but it fails to do anything much about lobbyists.  Instead, it will have the effect of deterring charities and other civil society organisations from campaigning, particularly around an election. 

Like a lot of bad legislation, the Bill was introduced in a hurry.  It would certainly have benefited from a proper process of pre-legislative scrutiny.  Continue reading ‘The Gagging Bill: time to think again’

Apple Day: ‘like and old Ox pissing in the Mudd’.

We had a good response to our Apple Day press release calling on people to drink apple juice made with English apples, and to look out for obscure apple varieties.  Apple Day has been a great success and the English apple – even when ‘blemished’ – is fighting back against the bland. 

I can’t help wondering what the historian E.P. Thompson would have made of it.  In 1979 he ‘discovered behind a panel in his library the diary of a remote ancestor, a minor landowner in Worcestershire, and a JP’.  The diary dated from late September or early October 1593, a bad time for apples and the state:

And the City Folk run after forrayn Facion & must have the Apples dresst in Papers like Ladyes Sweetmeetes & no Blemish on the Skinnes & all of a Size like Oysters in a Barrel, althow the Fruit be Nothing but Pith & Pulp & a Sort of Natureless Pap without neither Goodnesse nor Taste.  So that the Sweete Juices of England, whose Coddlins & Pippins no Land cd ever Equal, are run into the Grownde like an Old Ox pissing in the Mudd. Continue reading ‘Apple Day: ‘like and old Ox pissing in the Mudd’.’

The campaign to imprison urban England?

Update: I owe the letters editor of the FT an apology.  My letter is in today’s paper, so I’m reposting my last blog, minus the moan that ‘CPRE doesn’t have a great record of getting letters in the FT‘.  I have added an ‘afterword’, with the text of the letter in today’s Times from Peter Waine, CPRE’s Chair.  It makes similar points.

Both letters state that there is enough brownfield land available for at least 1.5 million new homes, including 400,000 in London.  The evidence is in Building in a small island, a report produced a couple of years ago for CPRE by Green Balance.  At a fringe meeting at Conservative Party Conference, Nick Boles said the report was based on poor research, out-of-date figures etc.  He got quite heated, but I am not aware what evidence he has for that view and we stand by the report.  The figures are probably an underestimate because official statistics, to the extent that they are still collected, exclude micro-sites.  See Untapped potential for more on sites of this sort.

Here is my original blog post, followed by Peter’s letter in the Times. Continue reading ‘The campaign to imprison urban England?’